PVA Conservation Paints

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GOLDEN PVA Conservation Paints are made from polyvinyl acetate and are intended for inpainting purposes for professional conservators. The colors are well and evenly dispersed and remain soluble in various ketones, acetates, and lower alcohols.



There are several ways that these paints can be applied.

  • Direct Application
    Apply directly from the container or palette while wet.
  • Indirect Application
    Apply paints to palette, allow to dry, and re-solublize with a brush dipped in alcohol.
  • Spray Application
    Blend the paints with a thin PVAC solution. Employ airbrushes that do not have "O-rings" that react with solvents.

Isolation Coat before Inpainting

PVA Conservation Paints can be applied over an isolating varnish that separates original material from the retouches. For this purpose acrylic solution varnishes such as GOLDEN MSA Varnish and various Paraloid varnishes are suitable.


PVA Conservation Paints can be thinned with various ketones, acetates, and lower alcohols. Solvents that are typically used are isopropanol, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and acetone. Acetates and ketones have greater solvency power and reactivate dry PVA paints on the palette faster.

Modifying Drying Time

In order to extend the working time of the PVA paints, slower evaporating solvents, such as 1-methoxy-2-propanol can be used. Furthermore, it is possible to add a small amount of a lower weight glycols or glycol ether in order to extend the drying time. For this purpose GOLDEN Retarder can be used (add max. 25% retarder). Overuse of retarder can cause extensive drying time and other defects. The retarder can be added to the jar with diluent or mixed with the paints on the palette.

Modifying Sheen

The easiest way to reduce sheen is to use more diluent. The more the paints are diluted with solvent, the matter their sheen when dried. To achieve an even more matte appearance, the PVA colors can be mixed with additions of dry pigment or matting agents. To increase the sheen, add pure predissolved polyvinyl acetate resin to the paints.


Because these paints are resoluble in alcohol, additional paint layers can begin to re-solublize underlying PVA paint layers. If this becomes a problem it can help to apply isolation layers between the coats. Unpigmented layers of pre-dissolved polyvinyl acetate can be used for this purpose.

Clean Up

Clean tools with alcohol.

Final Varnish

 PVA Conservation paints can be varnished in order to saturate colors and even out surface sheen. 

Brush application: Polar solvents used in the final picture varnish could reactivate PVA retouches and cause bleeding or smearing. Since the PVA Conservation Colors are not soluble in non-polar solvents, these can safely be used for brush application. Possible varnish choices would be GOLDEN MSA Varnish w/UVLS, Paraloid B72, Regalrez 1094, or MS2A.  

Spray application: all varnishes that are commonly used in conservation can be spray applied over the PVA Conservation paints.

Further literature

For more detailed information on the development and use of these paints in conservation, please see:



The above information is based on research and testing done by Golden Artist Colors, Inc., and is provided as a basis for understanding the potential uses of the products mentioned. Due to the numerous variables in methods, materials and conditions of producing art, Golden Artist Colors, Inc. cannot be sure the product will be right for you. Therefore, we urge product users to test each application to ensure all individual project requirements are met. While we believe the above information is accurate, WE MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, and we shall in no event be liable for any damages (indirect, consequential, or otherwise) that may occur as a result of a product application.